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First look: Hyundai’s new Accent hits China

Sedan, not hatch: Australians will have access to the sedan version of Hyundai's new i25/Verna (left), but not the hatch.

New-generation Hyundai Accent hatch to join sedan, but not in Australia

24 Dec 2010

HYUNDAI’S next-generation Accent sedan made its global debut in April at the Beijing Automotive Exhibition in China, where it is known as the Verna, and now the Korean car-making giant has used the same nation’s 8th Guangzhou International Automobile Exhibition to reveal its even more stylish hatchback sibling.

As we’ve reported, the all-new Accent/Verna sedan will go on sale in Australia, where it is likely to go by the i25 nameplate, in the third quarter of next year, completing Hyundai’s light-car line-up alongside the relatively new i20 hatch.

As such, Hyundai Motor Company Australia (HMCA) will not import the new Accent/Verna five-door seen here, leaving the i20 three and five-door and i25 four-door to carry the brand’s light-car candle in the absence of Australia’s top-selling light car, the venerable Getz, which ceases to be produced this month.

Like the i20, which opens at $15,490 plus on-road costs for the three-door 1.4-litre manual, the i25 will not match the low price point (and therefore sales volume) of the Getz, making Toyota’s Yaris – which will be renewed Down Under in September – likely to reclaim its title of Australia’s most popular light car in 2011.

Hyundai has an ace up its sleeve, however, in the form of the pint-sized i10 – which like the i20 is built in China – that could be added to the Hyundai range later next year as a volume-selling entry-level model to match the likes of Suzuki’s pioneering Indian-built Alto and Holden’s new Barina Spark, both of which start from under $13,000.

Like the i20, the i25 will be powered – at least in China – by 1.4 and 1.6-litre engines, this time Hyundai’s latest Gamma petrol engines, delivering a respective 78.7kW/135.4Nm and 90.4kW/155Nm. In China, the 1.4 will return fuel consumption as low as 6.2L/100km.

At this stage production of the Verna has been confirmed only for China, making the pint-sized i25 sedan likely to be the first Hyundai model to come to Australia from the world’s most popular nation. This year’s i20 was the first Hyundai to hail here from India, joining Suzuki’s pioneering Alto.

The replacement for the outgoing Verna/Accent will be built by Beijing Hyundai Motor Company, a 50-50 joint-venture between Hyundai and Beijing Automotive Industry Holding Company (BAIHC), and goes on sale in China from January.

BAIC will also produce Hyundai’s mid-size i45 sedan in China, where it will be known as the Sonata when it is introduced there in January.

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